tv Politics Public Policy Today CSPAN January 23, 2015 9:00am-11:01am EST
captioning performed by vitac all the years i was in the senate, the first 30 of those -- god, i'm getting old -- 36 years there, had i stayed in the senate i would be senate pro tempori in the senate now. frightening thought, isn't it? i just had a birthday. everybody was saying god. you know what? speaking of sports, i adopted satchel paige's view of birthdays. he didn't make it to the bigs until 45. pitched five years. probably would have been the greatest pitcher in history had
he been able to pitch in the big leagues before segregation was ended by jackie robinson. he pitched five years. age 47 he won a game. the sports writer it is his birthday, they say what's it feel like being 47 in the bigs pitching in he said, boys, that's not the way i look add it. he said i look at it this way. how old would you be if you didn't know how old you are? i'm 42. [ laughter ] i'm 42. look. [ applause ] my wife who's a full-time professor, right now in the classroom. teaches 15 credits. no help. she does it -- you know, no t.a. and she has an expression. she said, joe any countries going to out produce us out
compete us. you know it and i know it. by the way of all the things to get in your cities i'll bet one of the top of the list is a university in the middle of the city. a community college in the middle of your city. an education institution that attracted new people in the middle of your city. and so here's the deal. we think we think that you should be in a position, america should be in a position to be able to be retrained. we should be able to connect business needs and again, i may be wrong but i bet every one of you your businesses come to you saying i need more skilled people. most of the skills of the hundred thousand manufacturing jobs out there that are going unfilled in america today, most of them don't even need a
two-year degree. they need a certificate. the folks in the solar industry, you know their biggest problem? they're growing. they don't have anybody that knows how to handle photo voluntarily tick technology and machines. the folks -- i was just up in detroit. folks up in detroit, turns out they need a thousand computer programmers. i.t. people. there's a thing called global -- global something systems. i apologize for the name but they're the ones that go out and find employment for the i.t. companies that need it. you know what they did? they went into the hood the neighborhoods. the first class i went and spoke to. don't hold me to the numbers. like 38, 48 people. all women all black. youngest 24. oldest 58. 16-year program. every one left with a job. the lowest paying job, $62,000 a
year. the highest, 107. [ applause ] because mayor, the industry the community college, they married it up. say, what do you need? so the companies came in and said we'll put together a plan to train. we'll train your too muchers how to teach it. guys you know that last state of the union the president delegated me at the time it didn't sound like a good idea to, you know how do we revamp our training programs? how do we end up with the most technically astute work force in america? so with a lot of help from other cabinet members i spent nine months putting together a program and i really urge you not because of pride of authorship? it. if you want the report it's very straightforward. all it is is about connecting
business with a need with workers with the desire and an ability to help them figure out where they go and how to pay for the training they need to get. it's a simple proposition. and we did an extensive study using great universities and models. you know we need in the next several years 600,000 more registered nurses in america. the average salary's between $65,000 and $75,000 a year. the bulk of it can be trained at a community college. that's what my wife teaches. you know in each of your cities that have community colleges. we need 1,300,000 i.t. workers. learning a new language.
of programming. average salary $54,000 a year. i could go on. not all of it requires a four-year degree. i got all the guys from silicone valley and the women heading every one of the major companies, the ceos, and i met with them. we have a thing and the mayor of san francisco can tell you about this. we had a thing called the h1b visa. i was the chairman of the jewish dare and they're the ones that -- we write the law. we bring in this past year 485,000 people from overseas to fill jobs that american skilled labor are not skilled to fill. average salary $108,000 a year. so asked tim cook, i said tell
me you guys. how many of these jobs require a four-year degree or phd? or put it another way, how many only require a community college degree? estimated about 200,000 of those jobs. require nothing more than a two-year degree in the right program. imagine what happens in your cities. if we're able to train these folks. so you know i know i was introduced at an infrastructure conference with a lot of -- with over 600 business men and port directors and the rest and the guy got up to me after me and he said i wondered how to introduce senator biden and i googled him and biden and infrastructure and got 60000 hits. i know i'm a broken record on infrastructure. i'm a broken record on community colleges. but, guys, you all know.
12 years is not enough anymore in the 21st century of free education. no matter what your politics are, you know that's true. 12 years is not enough to compete in the 21st century. you know why we have led the world industrially and in terms of innovation for the past century? because a bunch of states back in the late 1890s starting with new york and massachusetts and others said we're going to have universal education in our states. 12 years free. no matter how long it takes you. i'm serious. because if we said 12 years and you're out we'd be in a very different place. so what's the next thing we did? we came along and we said, we're going to do a land grant community college system. america under a republican
president. every one of your states has more than one land grant community college. some of you have great ones like the university of delaware. and m.i.t. all kidding aside it spans the spectrum. no other country in the world did that. and another great move we made, not we, the united states. the g.i. bill. the biggest equalizer in the world. all of a sudden a lot of -- a lot of irish-catholic kids and jewish kids and all of a sudden they go to harvard and yale. stanford. chicago. all the great universities where there's a dividing line. a two-tiered kind of system. it's a greatest equalizer that ever occurred in my view in american education. and then we did something really smart on the eisenhower administration. remember sputnik? and this whole thing about how do we generate 600,000 new
engineers and scientists and if rest and research and development? there was a great government report all recommendations except one, thank god, and it was the recommendation of that report was that we should invest all our research and development money into government agencies like nih and the rest. people said, no, no, no no. we'll do them but the primary focus of research pure and applied, should be at the universities. anywhere you travel in the world find me. anywhere in the world find me any country, any leader doesn't acknowledge the united states has the best research universities in the world. that's why we are so good. so guys, we've been ahead of the curve. except now people are catching
up. no other country had universal education for 12 years including great britain. for the first quarter of the century. and only until recently have they started that. in china and other countries. nobody has the great research universities we have. so what's the next move? what's the next logical move to stay ahead of the curve? 14 years. if i had my way, figure out how to pay for it, there should be 16 years. college should be free. [ applause ] i can't have my way. and it's a legitimate reason why. i'm not being a wise guy. that's tougher. more costly. survey's done. after the state of the union. every survey you've done politically. yes, middle class people what's the greatest priority to help
change their lives? economically. know what they list second? cost of education. every one of you if you're like me living on the salary you were and nothing else try sending your kid to college. you get it. you get it. when i got -- did my funs shl disclosure statement which i did every year as vice president, "the washington post" had a headline. it's probable that joe biden enters the office of vice president with the fewest assets of any man in history. seriously. i assumed they were talking financial. not other. [ laughter ] so some of you may remember this because it was embarrassing. all over the news well, the reason why biden has a net worth between 70 and $115,000, they don't count my house.
i have more equity in that. is because, is because he's lived on the government salary his whole life. that's not the reason. it's because i made the mistake you should not make. i said to my three children any school you can get into, i'll help you get there. [ applause ] seriously. four years of penn. four years at georgetown. four years of tu lain. three years at yale. three years of syracuse. two years at penn. thank god i was at a time now they aren't -- people aren't middle class people, i was making a lot of -- i was making $67,000 a year. but we're not for the fact of the value of my house was climbing and i could continue to justify second mortgages. refinancing. it wouldn't have worked. my generic point is, people don't have that option much anymore.
even though housing is back. but those who got out lost lost everything. they're renting. they don't own. so what's the biggest way -- what will -- what will two years of free college education -- by the way, governors are leading this. republican governor in tennessee is leading on this. you know, the mayor of chicago, i don't know whether rahm is here. he's leading on this. democrats and republicans. well, guys, here's the deal. there's three gigantic advantages. the work training program needs the community colleges as the vehicle to meet the needs of employers' needs immediately. some of that i said is just a certificate. the other middle class jobs that are needed and available need at least a two-year degree.
but those that want a four-year degree, by free community college we cut the cost of education in half. because almost every one of your states have programs in their community college, programs that if you take this course, it is transferable, the credits are directly transferable to the state university. that's up the quality of the institutions as well. so this is a big deal guys. again, legitimate question. how do you pay for it? how many people do you know that the market's coming back, there's a job available, maybe not the one they want and the woman or man saying i can't afford to take it? you guys know what the cost of child care is. can be as high as $28,000 a year. try to find in your city safe,
quality child care. so, what we found out we did these studies. one study, we're running the -- what we're doing now through the economic models. but one of the things we were considering, we changed it but we went and said, there was a study done what would happen -- one of the problems we have is workforce replacement. women are dropping out of the market. studies show that if you gave $8,000 a year tax credit to people making under $60,000 you would increase participation in the work force of women between 1.3% and 1.7%. this alone would grow the gdp over ten years by 5%. that's trillions of dollars. this isn't a social program that would be nice.
this is an economically productive initiative. so that's why we went and did the $3000 child tax credit. child care tax credit. that will make a difference between whether people can get back in the market. that will change their bottom line. that's why for two wage earners we provided a $500 additional tax credit. we talk about how we care about families. democrats and republicans out campaign each other. my concern for american family. well, let's get in the game, guys. the middle class has lost a tremendous amount of wealth and income. and by the way is there a parent you know that doesn't want to send their kid to college? i don't care what neighborhood in your -- no matter how poor. a bareo or a ghetto or a wealthy neighborhood.
you find me a mother who says if i could do i would like to send my kid to college. so, the question is how do we pay for it? i don't think there's any ideological difference that it makes sense to have 14 years of education. or to have child care. that was republican idea. tax credits. here's how you pay for it. you look at those, again quote you look at the tax expenditures that have no productive value. one is a thing called stepped up bases. most people don't know what it means. you do. if you go out and you buy -- you have buy $20,000 worth of stock, and it appreciates in value to $100,000, over time, and you sell it, you pay a capital gain between 20 and 100.
you go out and buy $20 million worth of stock it turns out that the time you die it's worth $100 million or 50 million. let's make it easy. you leave it to your heirs. they sell it later for 80. they only pay a capital betweens 50 and 80. why? trust fund folks are good folks. last thing they need is another $210 billion. i'm not joking. seriously. make that argument to me why that makes sense in terms of anything having to do with productivity. doesn't make sense. secondly, most of you supported the idea because you had to deal with your banks and worry about them closing down. so bailed out the banks. we went to wall street and we said we have these new regulations that take it back to where it used to be so it's not
a cowboy mentality. there are certain rules of the road. dodd frank. you can't be too big to fail and we don't have to bail you out. on that t.a.r.p. program, we made billions. they all paid it back. it actually made money. it made money. [ applause ] so here's the deal. there are still banks or financial institutions that are taking high risk propositions that, in fact, we should be discouraging because it will end up on the taxpayer. so we call for a 0.7% additional tax on what everybody can define as the risky investments banks making over -- having a value over $50 billion. that raises another $110 billion. that's $330 billion. it pays for everything i just said. community colleges.
tax breaks for middle class people. i love to have the argument with anybody. you tell me. you want to spend -- because spending is tax break. $220 billion for people who are in the top one half of 1% of the country who are good people and don't need it? or you want to help out middle class people? get in the work force and have an education. so, guys, that's going to be the debate. legitimate debate. but that's why we're doing what we're doing. to keep this going. i've talked too long. but i feel passionate about this. one of the things i was going to talk to you and i'll come back. i hope you invite me back. and that is about -- this is not 1960s. it is not the 1970s. it is not '60s where people were, you know my city was in flames. wilmington. it's not chaos. it's not the '70s where cops were the target.
it's the second half -- it's the second decade of the 20th century -- 21st century. we got a problem. between cops and minority communities. we put together a commission. some of you i think had an opportunity to go meet with a leading criminologist from -- a woman, and a leading chief of police good friend of mine chief ramsey from philadelphia chairing our commission. and i hope they laid out to you and you got a sense of what we're trying to do. there's a lot of things we have to do. a lot of things we can do. but, guys i listen to bill bratton who's an old friend of mine. bill was in boston. then he was commissioner in new york. then he was a commissioner in l.a. now he's back in new york and he was in a long interview, over an hour with charlie rose. i turned it on. and bill's one of the guys that
helped me draft which was controversial at the time because i spoke to the mayor's conference, the first people i spoke to when i authored the community policing bill. putting 100,000 cops on the street but the condition was they had to get out of their cars. there had to be community policing. and bill was a giant proponent. so bill's on the air and they're asking him the difficult questions about, he's the commissioner in new york, the police department is not if not at war in a real difficult spot relative to the mayor right now. the african-american community is angry. i -- american african community and ask around ask your chiefs, i don't think there's any other government official that has more creditbility with law enforcement. google it.
i have a great relationship with both communities. i'm trying to figure out what should we be doing? i'm listening to bill bratton and bill says you know when i was commissioner in l.a. there is an african-american activist who looked at me one day and he said commissioner, the tribe in africa has an expression. we see you. we see you. i respectfully suggest that we don't see each other anymore. cops don't see the community anymore. not all. the community doesn't see cops anymore. the community doesn't see that very person that's patrolling their crime-ridden neighborhood,
kissed his little girl good-bye as he left for the night shift and patted his wife on the shoulder and said it's going to be okay. they don't see that that local cop is a woman who has kids and loves to play basketball. the cops don't see as much anymore that that black kid standing on the corner, they don't see that kid as a kid who loves to write and paint. and maybe a future artist or poet. and here's what i respectfully suggest you let me come back and talk to you about. i don't think they see each other anymore because they don't know each other. they don't get out of their cars by and large anymore. how many of you over the last ten years have had your authorized police department cut the number of cops you have? raise your hand.
budget problems. the federal government since 1999 has cut community police funding by 87%. that's almost 10,000 fewer local cops on your streets. so, when the crime bill was first passed, so-called biden crime bill, go back those of you who weren't mayors, maybe you were counsel men. because you were business leaders. the whole idea of community policing was so they could see each other. so what happened? those first six years cops were by name joe, going to community meetings. they would show up and sit there. they knew the names of the guys and women who owned the businesses on the corner. in turn the community knew that
elderly woman living in the corner where a drug deal was going down outside her house literally had a phone number, local cop and say johnny, had a number, direct line to the cop. saying this is what's going on knowing that johnny would not out her so if they got out, they wouldn't come back and get her. it built trust. but then we put fewer and fewer on the street. so, look, guys. i want to come back to you and talk about community policing. because there's a lot of things we can do from body cameras to a whole range of other things and i think we got to get back to -- because, look. 90% of the people are on the police force being a cop is not what they do. it's who they are. they're the same kids you grew
up with. who if you got in a fight were there for you. they're the same kids you grew up. at least in scranton and claymont where i grew. the guy that is volunteered. they're the same kids who in fact, when there was a need for something to be done, they stood up. it's kind of in their dna. it's getting lost. and there's an awful lot of, vast majority of the really hard hit african-american communities are riddled with crime. the one thing they want is protection. but they have to know that mama lets her kid out the door he's not going to be seen as a stereotype and the cop has to know when he gets out of the car he's not going to be seen as the enemy. i did the funeral for officer ramos in new york. i did the eulogy. 28,000 cops showed up.
i met with the family. he was a minority. he was a puerto rican. he didn't join the force until he was in his 30s. he was studying the same time to be a chaplain. he not only had the bible in the locker, he had the bible in his heart. i then went to see the chinese family lui. i went into their home. mom and dad who didn't speak english. a cop who came i think at age 13 from china. wanted to serve. was on the force seven years. if my memory serves me. they took me in his wife, newly married. took me in -- and the mom and dad took me in to their bedroom to show me where the newly lilyweds
had been living. i met the extended family. these are really good men. really good men. they're more representative of law enforcement than anything that happens with the cop who roughs somebody up unnecessarily. so we got to being able to see one another. taking too much of your time but i hope that -- i hope that we can talk about that because guess what. you all are where the rubber meets the road. you all are the ones who are going to be dealing with this problem and solve it. remember that old bad joke when i was a senator i used to joke in the town meetings i held every year. i go home and only -- only one line guaranteed to get a laugh at a town meeting. i'm from the federal government and i'm here to help you. [ laughter ] but i think we can work together. democrat and republican.
because, ladies and gentlemen, america's coming back. we are better positioned than any nation in the world to own the 21st century. [ applause ] so let's not blow the opportunity! god love you all. i appreciate it. thank you! [ applause ] momentarily here we'll take you back live to the u.s. conference of mayors annual meeting. going to hear from four members of the obama administration, all former mayors, taking part in a discussion that will talk about
their current roles and how previously serving as mayor influenced their careers. the group will include julian castro the housing secretary. anthony fox transportation secretary. agriculture secretary tom vilsack and white house intergovernmental affairs director jerry abramson. should be started momentarily at the mayors meeting. also the president will address the mayors this afternoon. we'll have that live as well. scheduled for 4:45 eastern and that will be over on our companion network c-span3. as we wait to hear from the mayors, and their panel discussion with the members of the obama administration, we're going to bring you part of a discussion anyway from the chamber of commerce and the recent look at the state of american business. >> thank you very much, suzanne.
but let's not lose sight of the fact that i am irish. and thank you, again to the foundation and their team for organizing this event and thanks to all of you for being a part of this annual chamber tradition. the state of american business is improving. six long years after the recession, technically ended, investing, hiring and consumer spending are firming up. the housing sector continues to recover in fits and starts. entrepreneurship and good old-fashioned ingenuity in the energy sector have created millions of new jobs. though, the recent drop in energy prices may slow this sector over the next year. we've had a few good quarters of
very solid growth surprising some of the experts. the economy should continue to improve moderately through 2015. the chamber expects to see growth at 3% to 3.5% at least through the middle of the year. interest rates energy prices and inflation should remain low for the time being. there's no reason to think that another recession is lurking out there or in the near term horizon. but when you look beyond the near term, the outlook becomes much less certain. businesses are concerned about the health of their major customers overseas. china is slowing. europe is floundering. and japan may be sinking back into recession.
there's also the potential for disruption from a whole host of international conflicts. closer the home employers are being saddled with another new health care mandate an they're worried about when's comeat's coming next. at the current rate, some 4,000 new regulations will pour out of the regulatory pipeline this year. the new congress faces a series of government funding and debt limit deadlines this year, as well. we hope that lawmakers and the administration will act responsibly and not add to uncertainty. and everyone wonders when the federal reserve is going to raise interest rates. when the time inevitably comes, how will the markets react? adding to these uncertainties are all the questions about cyber security.
what happened to sony can happen to any business. any organization, any government agency. or, by the way to any media outlet. government and the private sector must work together on this challenge and we are calling on the new congress to pass a cyber security information sharing bill without delay. based on recent economic reports, it's understandable that the administration and the business community and perhaps the chamber may like to take a victory lap. not so fast. there's lots more to come. we can't forget that 17.7 million americans are still unemployed, underemployed or have given up looking for work.
participation in the workforce stands at 62.7% the lowest since 1978 reflecting a significant level of discouragement and, by the way let me say parent thetically in some places extraordinary increases in productivity meaning work can be done by far fewer people. current policies have eroded our economy's long-term potential rate of growth. it would be a serious mistake to think that higher taxes a bigger debt and more regulations can deliver more growth jobs and prosperity. they will deliver less. now, the american people understand this which is why last november they clearly rejected a good portion of the economic course that we're on. they voted for new direction,
one that puts jobs and growth first and demands competence and leadership from our government at every level. the chamber played a significant role in the mid-term elections. we had since then been meeting with our leaders in both the house and the senate and the administration to discuss with them how we move forward. we are urging them all to become part of what we call a governing center, to solve problems and get things done. a governing center suggests you can be a committed conservative, a passionate progressive or even one of a shrinking number of moderates and still find a way to work together. sometimes you can find common ground, but more often than not,
you acknowledge your differences and just make a deal. that's how governing is supposed to work. in a democracy. we've had divided government many times in the past. and lawmakers still got things done. why not now? in 2015 we're asking the nation's leaders to rally around a common bipartisan cause and that cause is stronger and deeper economic growth in order to create jobs and expand opportunities for all americans. how can we get there? first, we need a growth agenda that capitalizes on the extraordinary potential that we have in trade energy technology and infrastructure. second we need a government reform agenda that eases
uncertainty and supports growth by improving our immigration system. the regulatory process in this country, the tax code, entitlement programs the legal system and last but not least our public schools. with a return to regular order in the senate, and an expanded role for congressional committees we hope that business priorities will get attention and then see action. through the passage of bills and amendments and in the appropriations process. to support our proposals on the hill, we will further grow and employ our grassroots network of state and local chambers associations small businesses and free enterprise activists. we will lay the groundwork this year for the pivotal election year to come. we will be very clear about what
lawmakers in both parties need to do if they hope to earn the business community's support. outside of washington the chamber will be busy in the states fighting for legal reform, workplace freedom and education reform. we will be working in regulatory agencies to fix and improve new regulations. we will be working around the world to open markets, defend the interests of american companies and protect their intellectual property. last but not least, we'll be extremely busy in the courts. legal action to stop government abuse and defend the rights and freedoms of the business community will be a critical tool in 2015. last year the chamber's
litigation center filed successfully i might say a record number of briefs in federal and state courts and we will likely surpass that record this year. now, let me continue now with some comments about what we can do right now today to accelerate growth, secure our recovery and to create jobs. the first is trade. 95% of the people we want to sell something to live outside the united states. and we now have some great opportunities to open new markets and increase america's exports. the administration is actively negotiating two historic trade agreements. the transpacific partnership agreement and the transatlantic trade and investment partnership.
the chamber has supported those initiatives from the very beginning. the president has said that he is committed to finishing the job in both packs and we congratulate him for that. but he's going to need trade promotion authority from the congress to do it. he's going to have to go out and really fight for it especially with the members of his own party. but he can count on our aggressive support. and acting tpa so that we can finish these agreements is one of our top legislative priorities this year. we'll also continue to advance other trade priorities including a revised information technology agreement, a trade and services agreement and a bilateral investment treaty with china. we'll work on the recent successfully concluded wto trade facilitation agreement,
modernizing our borders with customs reform and extending the charter of the xm bank. our global intellectuals centers will support efforts to improve sbeintellectual properties protections here and around the world, and we'll work to improve our own rules on trade secrets while advancing ip protections in china, india and pending trade agreements. even with the recent decline in energy prices abundant domestic energy will still stand out as a an extraordinary opportunity to generate millions of jobs in this country. billions in revenues for government and trillions in new investment while securing affordable energy for american consumers. congress and the administration
should take the needed steps to unleash the energy revolution in an environmentally responsible way and we should reform export rules so that we can sell this energy when appropriate around the world. our institute for 21st century energy has issued a 64 specific recommendations on how, for example, to remove barriers to oil and gas production ensure the continued use of coal and nuclear energy and enhance the competitiveness of renewable resources. and we're going to keep pushing on the keystone pipeline. i'm sure you're surprised. the administration's own facts clearly show that this project will create jobs and energy security without harming the environment. one more thought on energy.
and it's important. over time, energy development can deliver hundreds of billions of new dollars to government coffers and that will be a nice down payment on our rapidly growing bill for our nation's entitlement programs. energy won't solve that problem. or remove the need for reform. but it sure can help. along with trade and energy, american leadership in technology can continue to deliver great benefits to our economy and to our quality of life. yet, as it grows bigger, our tech sector's also becoming more the target of governments and activists at home and abroad. this year our new center for advanced technology and innovation will be running at full speed and will spearhead a
chamber-wide effort to defend the technology xaenls and advance their policy interests. tech companies find themselves unfairly targeted by law enforcement and regulators in key markets from china to the european union. domestically companies urgently need high-skilled talent as well as an expansion of spectrum and broadband capacity. we recommend that the issue of net neutrality divides the tech community. but there can be no neutrality as far as the chamber is concerned. we oppose efforts to regulate the internet as if it were a 20th century public utility or a copper wired telephone company. the internet is one of the greatest drivers of prosperity and innovation in our economy. we need to develop better and smarter framework for data
security and sharing. but the system must remain open, flexible and innovative and excessive government regulation of the internet would just kill that goose. you know infrastructure is another big growth opportunity. we're asking congress to pass a long-term highway and mass transit bill with full funding generated from the users along with the appropriate reforms. and we must fully fund our aviation and water systems as well. the big question is how to pay for these programs. the simplest and fairest way to do this is through a modest increase in terms of roads and transit of the federal fuel user fee that hasn't been increased in more than 20 years. i know the politics are
difficult but isn't this a pretty good time to try, since last summer the average price of gas has dropped $1.45 a gallon. isn't that reasonable then to consider investing a dime or two of those savings back into our roads, bridges and highways and transit to put personals back to work, to clean the air, grow the economy and save thousands of lives? the chamber plans to continue -- >> reminder you can see this event from the u.s. chamber of commerce at c-span.org. we'll take you live to the u.s. conference of mayor's annual meeting hearing from four members of the obama administration, all former play yours including julian castro anthony fox, agriculture secretary tom vilsack and white house intergovernmental affairs director jerry abramson just
getting under way here on c-span3. >> all right. batting third. and the power hitter slot. you guys know this gentleman, the director of intergovernmental affairs, he's been with us since the conference started a couple days ago. he's been here every day, and i don't know if you know this for the new mayors. he was mayor at louisville from 1986 to '99, and then he stepped out and then they combined the city and county which we've seen this happen around the country, then he came back and served as mayor for 2003 to 2011, let's give a round of applause for our very own jerry abramson. [ applause ] >> thank you, buddy. >> thank you. thank you. >> the irony of this last one, the transportation person is not
here yet. this is a new group of mayors. we're not late. so i'm going to introduce him now and then when he comes in he can hop up on the stage. but i'm going to put it in perspective why he's not here. i don't know if you guys even know this. he was designated during the state of the union as a designated survivor. you guys know what that means? well some of you. all right. so he was the first -- so as a member of the u.s. cabinet who's a part of the administration who is appointed to be at a physical, distant, secure and undisclosed location when the president is giving his state of the union so we've just found him. and we're getting him out of the bunker, so he'll be here in short order. let's give a round of applause for former mayor of charlotte, secretary of transportation anthony foxx. [ applause ]
all righters you guys ready? >> ready. we're going to start off a little fun and we'll jump in to some serious topics. i'll start with tom maybe you on the very end. give us a little bit of background. i kind of alluded to this earlier, going back when you were in city hall, you know, as a mayor, when you think about each mayor in here today what do you think they most need to know about the federal government? >> well, i think it's important for folks to know the broad array of programs available through the federal government. when i was mayor i had no idea of the opportunities that existed in partnership, and that, i think the onus is on us in the federal government to provide better understanding of programs, with websites and so forth. i think we can do a much better job of communicating to mayors you know, in my department when you think of the agricultural
department you may think well what is he even doing on the stage, right? well we do infrastructure projects. we, like at hud we finance homes. 905,000 homes were financed since i've been secretary through the department of agriculture. we've helped 19,000 businesses locate and expand. so when people look at the u.s. department of agriculture, as a small city mayor you ought to know all about our programs, and would certainly welcome the mayors here today, and for larger cities it's all about nutrition and nutrition assistance. i had a chance to talk to mayor de blasio about the important role that mayors play in some refeeding programs and in school nutrition. so there is an opportunity here for great partnership. >> awesome. secretary castro, now that you're working at the highest level of federal government and i don't mean this in a cynical way, but how do you grade the administration's kind of performance in terms of meeting the needs of cities or what can they be doing better to maybe meet the needs of the city and
your perspective to help make that happen? >> it's a great question. i would give it a very high grade. and this is why. i believe that one of the lasting legacies of the obama administration vis-a-vis urban communities, is going to be that with reference like sustainable communities, and promise zones our choice neighborhood effort at hud, strong cities strong communities, what the administration has done, i think better than any before it is to organize itself across the silos, across the departments of the federal government and to encourage local communities to mirror that at the local level. so that the community college district is talking to the transit agency is talking to the stet government. is talking to the housing authority. and the sum of all of that is very powerful benefit to overall quality of life in urban communities. so to the extent that those
relationships at the local level, that way of doing business takes greater hold because of in part because of the work that has been done in the obama administration not only are we serving cities well today but for the long haul we're serving cities well. >> i think that's interesting breaking down these silos rather than each department kind of having their own lane. being able to do it across. which i think is important. mayor -- once a mayor always a mayor. >> i've had the opportunity to be mayor for over two decades and therefore i had the opportunity to work with the person in my position starting with president reagan's administration all the way through to where we are today. and i think what's interesting that i see in the little over
two months that i've been in my position is that there's a great deal of interest of developing ideas and developing initiatives occurring, a great deal of interest in terms of what's happening at the local level. to be able to be realistic and develop a rollout of a program. take for example the president's initiative on free community college. you know, you have to understand, as the white house does from listening to mayors, and others that the community colleges and work force training is really important. and it should rise to a point on the agenda that is well ingrained in the administration's schedule and agenda for the next two years. and i could go through so many of those issues. issues that they reach out to me and then i reach out to you to find out what's going on in your communities, around the country regarding these initiatives, these domestic agenda
initiatives, and if the white house did this what would it mean to your community? if the white house did that you've got an administration with more of a focus on communities, local governments, than i've certainly seen in my two decades plus. and it's because a gentleman like the two next to me and secretary foxx who will be here and others who have had that local government experience even the vice president was a county official. i mean the reality is, there's a lot of focus in terms of what is local government think and how realistic is what we're going to propose, how realistic is it at the local level? >> it's awesome. very helpful for us. i do want you to know you and joe riley are the only ones who have the distinction who said you've been mayor since ronald reagan. affiliated with the organization. >> he started with hubert humphrey. >> secretary vilsack, here's my question for you kind of a
light one. you served as mayor, state senator, governor, secretary of obviously in this administration, of all those distinguished offices which do you prefer and why, and remember your audience. >> i think it would be easier for me to answer which one i liked the least. which is as a state senator. you know i think the people in this room all have something in common and we have executive personalities. we want to get things done. we want to make decisions. we want to see results. and as a mayor and governor and secretary you have that opportunity to make things happen. i love this job that i have now. with all due respect to people in this room because i serve at the pleasure of one guy and if he hears me telling folks that i don't like my job i might find out i don't have it anymore. in a sense being secretary of agriculture is like being the mayor of cities and towns all
across rural america it's like being governor of 50 states for rural america because all that you all do as mayors and governors do as secretary of agriculture is able to do. it's a job that i love and it's a job that i'm well prepared for because of my experiences as a mayor and a governor. >> secretary, let me ask you one follow-up. during your time as secretary of agriculture you've shown an incredible openness and sensitivity to our concerns, you know, as we work to improve our local food infrastructure. what do you -- transportation has arrived. >> undisclosed location. >> run into the country. >> what do you see as the natural next step for cities in this growing movement to expand urban farming efforts and increase healthy food access in our cities. >> this is a great question and it's a terrific opportunity for mayors. i think first it does inquire and require your staffs to fully understand all the tools that are available through the united
states department of agriculture in cities. we have microloans for folks who want to get started in a city, loans up to $50,000. we have the ability to extend the growing season by financing houses. we can provide resources to cities to establish farmers markets or food hubs to aggregate locally produced food within a city. we have a directory that basically gives you information about where this opportunity exists. and all of this is designed to build an urban agricultural opportunity that many many people enjoy. i was in des moines just the other day at a homeless shelter. where they are basically training some of the returning vets who have fallen on hard times through this urban agricultural experience. and it was a wonderful thing to see people begin to learn a skill, begin to learn a trade and understand the nurturing aspect of growing something. it really is a very powerful tool to help some of these returning veterans who are struggling a bit. so, we are open for business.
we have our know your farmer compass on our website. would encourage you to take a look at usda.gov and encourage your folks to reach out to me. we'd be happy to partner with you. mayor emanuel in chicago we've got mobile units moving around his city with fresh produce. we're expanding our food stamp and snap programs so that they can be used in farmers markets. talked again to several mayors about the summer feeding program where we reimburse for summer meals if we could partner with you in your parks and recreation department, and find locations for summer meals. and to the extent that you're running your school districts we really want to encourage you to participate in our school lunch program, our school breakfast program, and there are simple ways to reduce the administrative expense involved in that. so lots of opportunities for partnership. >> so awesome. we're going to be at the white house today but we'd love to just get more information. because that's just such an important topic for all of news our communities.
secretary castro at hud you made a commitment to an initiative community development and local vision. could you talk a little bit about these efforts and what you think this partnership looks like for local leaders going forward? >> yeah, so, you know, one of the things that i've been talking about lately is that if you think about this 21st century, we're really living in a century of cities across the world places like china and india, those nations are urbanizing at a faster rate than ever. here in the united states cities are hot again people are moving back to cities. and particularly the younger generation, millennials. and so it -- the challenge out there for cities also competing in a 21st century global economy where capital is more mobile than ever and brain power is more mobile, is to make your city as livable as possible. that's really the underpinning of our place based initiatives,
like choice neighborhoods, like promise zones strong cities, strong communities, and a host of others throughout the administration. how can we work with you from soup to nuts, from plan to execution, to create a livable environment in your community. again, it cuts across the silos. you know, you want neighborhoods that are safe, that are vibrant in terms of the cultural amenities, that have access to good transit, strong educational opportunities, that are accessible and hospitable for different age groups. and we'd love to share more information with folks who are interested, and, you know about upline for choice or for promise or a whole host of other programs that we do. and just to go back very briefly, to wrap this up to the first question that was asked i agree with secretary vilsack that knowing the programs makes
a difference. the other thing i would say is that as someone who's been here about 5 1/2 months i can say that there is some truth to the squeaky wheel getting the grease. so don't be shy about that. so secretary let me ask you one quick follow-up. you met with mayors that suggest that cities start use inging barns to finance political housing. do you believe this can have a meaningful impact in terms of using these bonds? >> i do. i cited the example of austin. that a few years ago set aside bond funds specifically for affordable housing. if you look at the federal level we've seen dollars that have been essential to create more affordable housing in local communities. cdgb has fallen by 25% since 2010 and home has been cut in half.
so federal resources like the general budget environment have been constrained and i think that local communities, you know, have to find more way ss to invest in affordable housing. some communities use affordable trust funds but looking at preserving part of your bond issue for affordable housing where the constituents can vote specifically on that as a ballot measure so it's their choice and you can sell it that way i think that that makes a lot of sense and i hope that folks out there will consider that. >> awesome. so jerry we as mayors spend a lot of time complaining about our state governments, you are mayor, lieutenant governor, and now in the position that you're in. how is your perspective different now that you're working with mayors and governors. any advice for us? >> well the first thing i thought was interesting that you didn't, when you introduced secretary vilsack you forgot he had been governor. and i didn't know whether that -- >> i came back to it. i was saving it.
because of that rub sometimes between the city and the state. you know in my new role i love them all. and it creates an opportunity for me to bring to the attention of mayors the importance of engaging with their states and the same thing with the governors for engaging with their cities. in this day and age with the type dollars that are available for services be they state, be they city or county, collaboration is the name of the game these cabinet secretaries working with you in the projects that you're involved with ultimately create that kind of a base upon which you can grow your communities, and support and deliver the services. so it is different up here in terms of the interaction with governors and lieutenant governors, and state legislators, and even some of your city council people from time to time stop in to talk about issues that they think are important. but the bottom line is as we said earlier you're the chief executive so you're the guys and gals 40 are the centers of
innovation. if there's anything going on exciting in this country it's happening through you. and through your communities. those that are working hand in glove with their counties. those that are working hand in glove with their states. so that is the way i see it. i want to know what the former mayor of charlotte's been doing to be able to understand the real significance of him being on the panel. >> wait, wait, hold on. don't try -- >> he's trying to help you out. >> i'm trying to help. i'm saving him. i've got it. i've got it. >> so secretary here's the first question. i kind of asked the former mayors before, you know, when you were at city hall what did you want most you know from the federal government when you were a mayor? so touch on that then i'll ask you kind of some substantive questions. >> that one is easy. i wanted money. i wanted money, money money. i wanted money for transportation. i wanted money for housing. i wanted money for everything i could think of. >> you kind of understand what we're going to ask you for a little later? >> well, you know --
>> i'm going to defer those questions to these other gentlemen. but no, you know, i think we had a vision for our community. and it was built on top of conversation with our business community, with neighborhood leaders, with community activists, and the challenge that i ran into coming in to office in 2009, was we were running in to a headwind with the economy. and my job was to keep my community forging ahead on that vision. and i think what you heard the president say this week about how the long winter has passed and we are moving in to a new station where we need to be confident and focused and determined and moving forward, free of the constraints of the great recession, i think that's absolutely right. and i would just encourage folks, dust those plans off now. let's get some good transportation projects done. let's lift up the country. let's get people connected to
the 21st century economy and let's grow america into the future. >> so secretary you talked about, you know, investing, obviously in charlotte's transit system was a big priority for you when you were mayor. and now in the administration you have the proposal of renewing the map 21 you made higher transit spending a key priority. how can mayors help you in securing a stronger commitment to hire transit funding? >> it ties back to what i was just saying. our country has gotten used to underinvesting in infrastructure. it's almost like it's what we're supposed do. and yet when we look back two generations ago, three generations ago, those folks were not thinking small. they weren't playing small ball when it came to infrastructure. think about the fact that we have more manufacturing activity in this country than we've had over the last 15 years. and we have opportunities to get more of it. part of it with the president's trade agenda is bringing those
jobs back here. but also part of even getting the real leverage effect of this new economy is having the ability to move goods from one place to another. so my feeling is is first of all, you have to be really clear with your leaders here in washington. your house members your senators, about what your vision is. you also need to be clear about why that vision isn't happening right now. and i think we can have a big dent working to the in helping congress realize that the highway trust fund, getting topped off, is really not going to take us very far. but putting more investment in infrastructure so that you can realize your vision will help this country create jobs and move us in to the 21st century. we need to grow the investment. we can't just top it off. >> let me add just a couple things. first, this cabinet secretary has a very difficult issue which is that congress refuses to give him a five-year horizon.
you got funding until may, right? >> yeah, right. >> so they've had 18 consecutive continuations of funding for the department of transportation short-term. so one thing that we ought to be combined on is trying to encourage our friends in congress to give anthony a five-year and give all of you a five-year horizon so that you are confident that you're going to have funds. [ applause ] the second issue is i think we need to figure out creative ways to unlock the capital and investment opportunities that the private sector has. we had a difference here last year in july with investment bankers, commercial bankers pension plans, asking them what it would take for us to be able to leverage our federal dollars more effectively. and what we're learning is the need for our projects to be bundled in a way that could potentially create interest in the investment community.
we do -- we've done nearly 5,000 waste water and sewer projects since i've been secretary. one-off projects are not of much interest even though they're $2 million or $3 million projects. if you could combine five or six or ten or 50 or 100 of those projects you could actually unlock a lot of private sector resources. so one thing mayors ought to be thinking about doing is reaching out within their community into their investment community to find out how could -- how could we at the city level do the same thing that's being done at the federal level. >> secretary foxx last question and then you'll be caught up with everyone else. you know how important airport investments are in terms of driving local economies, and some mayors obviously have control, and some don't. you know, to expand our airports, we are increasingly relying on passenger facility charges for the capital we need. how can we support the administration's proposal to raise that cap and how can we support your efforts and vice versa on that?
>> well, this is a vitally important issue. right now, there's a -- it's a $4.50 cap on the pfc charges. we proposed lifting that cap to $8. which would provide these are moneys that airports can use flexibly to improve their facilities. it takes a little bit of the structure of the airport improvement program away and puts that money at the local level so that you can use that money more flexibly. we are big supporters of this. and again this is a place where i think conveying directly to members of congress how this impacts you, what plans do you have for your airport that could be enhanced if you had more nimble dollars at the local level that could be used to enhance that vision? that's the area of disconnect that i think we have up here. and by the way, there's a very vocal lobby against increasing those passenger facilities
charges, and i think the more counterstory there is that's based on real tangible improvements at your air ports and you convey that to your members of congress, that's the most important thing you can do. >> so jerry, i ask this question to you and then everybody can kind of address it going down. what does the administration need from us mayors? you know we're going to come in, we always have our needs and what we want, but we really prided ourselves on how can we be helpful? so i'll ask that last question to each of you. what does the administration need from mayors? >> the bottom line is we need your energy. we need your commitment. and we don't need you to sit back at city hall and complain. we need you to get engaged with your congress person and your senators to ensure that they understand the programs the projects, the initiatives that the president has put forward. what it would mean for the middle class citizens within your community. i just -- i sit with folks for many years lately who have constantly sat around the table and complained and complained.
and then you would say, well did you vote? no, i didn't vote. then you would say, if they voted, did you ever contact your congressman? did you ever talk with your senator? this is a -- the only way a democracy works is in an educated constituents, the citizens of this country respond and connect with their congress congresspersons and senators. or those individuals are left as independent contractors doing their own thing. so where we need you, because you're there where the rubber hits the road, is putting in to reality for your federal electeds what it means if community colleges were free. what it would mean if child care was tax credit was passed. what it means if investment in infrastructure would occur and the continuation and expansion of the legislation that secretary foxx was talking about. you got to make it real. and that's -- that's where we look to you to check with us if you don't follow or understand the initiatives that are being put forward or the legislation
that's being proposed. so that you have all the facts and then engage with your congresspersons and your senators. >> i think jerry said it very well. advocacy. we need good partners for the interests of urban communities in the united states. in some ways i think that america is falling in love again with cities. folks are choosing cities again. but that's not always reflected in the priorities in state legislatures, and in the congress. and you have a powerful voice to help make that happen for the benefit of the folks who serve. so i would say that that really hit the nail on the head in terms of advocacy and being a good partner in that sense. >> i'd say a companion to advocating, which is extraordinarily important, is also educating. and that is that educating people about the fact that there are many aspects of government that are working well. far too often we have a tendency to focus on things that aren't
working in government. and we ignore the reality is that many services that you all are providing are, indeed providing valuable services to people, and i think you need to connect the dots for folks from time to time that this is government working. and certainly we at federal government need to do this, as well. i mentioned some of the things we were doing at usda. for the 905,000 families who got a home loan from us who might not otherwise have gotten a home loan, that's government working. and i think there are probably a multitude of examples in this room from cities of projects and programs that are working really well. so educating the public about the important role that government is playing i think will help also provide some emphasis, and some energy behind the advocacy that you all have to do. >> i had some time to ponder this this week at the undisclosed location. so i'm going to offer a perhaps counterintuitive idea which is i think that mayors are uniquely
positioned to do something that i think is almost impossible for washington to do. that is to help us bring down the walls between this urban rural divide that's happened in this country. the reality is that there is urban poverty and rural poverty. there are access issues in urban america, and rural america. and if you look at how metropolitan areas are organizing increasingly there is an urban kosh, a suburban ring and a rural ring around it. and i think that if there's more visioning done that brings those elements together at the local level, and policy at the federal level that supports those visions, i think there's an enormous opportunity for us to solve problems instead of having them created by washington. so a lot of what we're doing at u.s. d.o.d. is trying to unearth
the thinking that can happen at the local level to bring those elements together, because i think one of the most essential things we can do to fix washington is to really vision well at home and bring those visions to washington, and have folks working arm in arm together. >> so mayor -- >> awesome. [ applause ] >> so mayor we all want to just thank you because we know you guys are busy and you've never said no to an invite. and for us to have the real dream team here with us today is awesome. so i'm going to ask you guys one lightning round question. real light. have fun with it. and then we'll let you guys go. you up for it? >> i'm ready. >> all right. secretary castro chris rock kevin hart choose? >> cross rock. >> secretary vilsack, best all-time movie? >> the graduate. >> whoa! all right.
i need a little music, get people in the mood as we're going to gather to our seats. ♪ ♪ i feel nice like sugar and spice ♪ ♪ i feel nice like sugar and spice ♪ ♪ so nice so nice i got you ♪ ♪ when i hold you in my arms ♪ ♪ i know that i can do no wrong ♪ ♪ and when i hold in my arms ♪ >> all right we are good with the music. thank you. all right mayors we got to have you grab your seats.
we need security to get our secretaries on their way. where's security? mayor fox, secretary fox, please. secretary castro. secretary castro. secretary castro. vamonos. i am pleased to bring our next speaker out since he was elected mayor of the great city of new york one year ago he has not missed a winter annual meeting. he's fully engaged in the conference. this past summer in august the mayor was kind enough to host us at gracie mansion for what we're calling a task force named the
new cities of opportunities. housing, transportation income inequality, broadband early childhood. he does it all in a very big way and on a personal note i just wanted to express on behalf of the conference our sympathy for officer ramos and lew in their communities. let's give a round of applause for mayor de blasio. [ applause ] >> thank you so much everyone. it's such a pleasure to be here with colleagues and to -- every time i come here i have to tell you, i tell you here the extraordinary things each and every one of you are doing. i hope you feel what i feel when you come here. you get a sense of inspiration and inferring from your fellow mayors who in so many cases are making things happen against all the odds. i just want to thank everyone for being part of this meeting. now as to our leader i always try my best with the president
of this great conference, mayor kevin johnson not to refer to his previous career. because if you would to refer to it you might say he is our point guard and he dishes the ball generously to his fellow mayors. but i won't do that. i won't do that. but mayor johnson has been a great friend and a great partner in the work we're doing talking about the issues that really matter in this country today, under his leadership the conference of mayors is more crucial to that debate than ever. i also want to thank you mayor, for bringing to thegether the leaders of the federal government who actually understand our lives and our work. i hope you've had the experience i have had when i call secretary castro, or secretary foxx, or secretary vilsack or director abramson, you don't need to translate to them the issues you're dealing with. you don't need to explain to them the challenges and the pressures of what's going on in your city. it is so refreshing to talk to
federal government leaders who instantly understand what we are facing, and actually want to creatively help us get to a solution. and i have to say the president did us all a great service by choosing these leaders for the cabinet. it's made a huge difference. and speaking of the president i think the state of the union speech was one of the clearest road maps we have heard in this country in recent years. as to how we address the underlying challenges we face, particularly when it comes to the crucial issue of income inequality. which i believe is the issue of our times and which we as mayors experience and understand so directly, so personally, every time i have gathered with you my colleagues i have heard such powerful stories of what you see in your cities in terms of an economy that unfortunately is still not serving so many of our
people. and what the decline of the middle class has meant what it has meant for so many families that they don't have the assurance that the next generation will do better than the current one. what income inequality has meant in terms of our ability to move our cities forward. we understand from the grass roots that if we don't address income inequality head on we can't progress as cities we can't progress as a nation. president obama laid out i thought, extraordinarily comprehensive vision of the things that would turn this crisis around. that would re-energize our economy, that would create opportunity and fairness again that would really underline a positive future for this country. and it's up to us now, i believe, to take the momentum created by the president's vision, and deepen it in the dialogue all over this country. deepen it, of course by action which is what we do by nature. to the credit of mayors we are
first and foremost interested in action that has tangible results at the local level. but we also have voices that matter deeply in the national discussion. and certainly the discussions in our states and in our metropolitan areas and i think we have to use those voices even more incessantly and intensely, in the years 2015 and 2016. because this time there will be a fundamental debate on the question of income inequality. you can see the tea leaves all over now. the president's speech i think will be the frame that will constantly be referenced, not only in the presidential election to come but in the elections for senate and congress and at all levels. you see candidates in both parties talking more and more about the challenge of income inequality and the lack of opportunity, and the concern that people have in the middle class that they're slipping out of the middle class. and certainly the concern that so many have who have not yet
reached the middle class that it may be out of reach. these issues have now found their moment. and this conversation, done right, is going to lead us somewhere better. this conversation, if it's prosecuted properly, will lead to actual substantive changes of the types that the secretaries were talking about, that will affect our work day-to-day. but i think, for us the price of admission is, we have to demand that this be the core of the debate going forward. and i think we have extraordinary legitimacy in this discussion as mayors. i think that the -- those who seek higher office, federal office, all over this country need to be asked at the beginning of each election and throughout how they will address income inequality. how they will address the opportunity gap. how they respond to the blueprint put forward by the president. i think with that simple frame,
we have the opportunity to go a lot farther in the next few years than we have in the past. now i won't go in to an exhaustive explanation of the reality. i think we all know it from our day-to-day work. it takes a lot of forms. some of the statistics we've seen recently, both in terms of the united states and globally are more striking than ever. one recent study by the government of california in the tund today the top 0.1% of the population hold 22% of the nation's wealth. this is an example of a change. it was not this way when most of us were born. it was not this way when this nation was thriving for decades of growth and strength and inclusion. it's something we have to actively address with a series of policies again so powerfully displayed in the president's remarks. now, what we have in the way of legitimacy is not only the respect that people all over
this country have for the leadership role that mayors play. not only the fact that we are closest to the ground and can speak to people's lives as chief executives who actually deal each and every day with the constituents they serve and address the problems, because they are immediate and real to us. we also, in so many parts of this country, have been leading the way on these kind of changes at the local level. even when there wasn't federal or state support, so many cities around this country are actually grappling with these issues head-on. i was talking to my colleague and friend from oklahoma city about what oklahoma has done on early childhood education. it's been true in other parts of the country, as well. even if federal and state governments haven't recognized the transcendent impact of early child education city governments in many cases found a way to move forward. what cities have done on paid sick leave and other benefits that help keep families whole. that help avoid economic
disruption. what cities are doing on broadband access to ensure, in a new economy, that there's actually economic opportunity for all. we have the legitimacy of action. we have the legitimacy certainly on an issue so central to people all over the country what will our minimum wage be we have the legitimacy of so many cities around this country having pushed farther, certainly, well beyond what the federal government has done, well beyond what many state governments have done, recognizing the actual wages necessary to feed a family today. this is why we have a special voice that needs to be heard in 2015 and 2016. this is why our cities of opportunity task force is working intensely to come out with some of the ideas and some of the examples of what cities can achieve that we hope will have a big impact on the debate to come. by the way, if ever in attempting to make this case the
argument is thrown back that somehow we're out of touch with the mood of the nation because i think there's a lot of prognostication and punditry that suggests somehow the people aren't interested in this issue. the fact is whenever you look at a chance for the people to speak through the most obvious tool that people have when there's a referendum on the ballot, the evidence is overwhelming that people all over the country, red states, blue states, every region, want to address the issues of income inequality. there were four states and cities that had paid sick leave on the ballot in november. it passed overwhelmingly in all four. there were five states that had increases in the minimum wage on their ballots, including and mainly, republican-led states. and those ballot measures passed. when the people are asked do they want new policies to address our obvious economic reality, they say yes overwhelmingly. and we need to press the advantage because of that.
now, just a couple other quick points, because at the same time as we're addressing these core economic realities, we know from our own work the kinds of policies that would be transcendent for us. another great example is what the president has put forward on immigration reform. i think there's a broad sense among mayors all over this country, again, all regions all parties, because in our cities we see the emerging america, we see the impact of immigration, both from those who are documented and those who are undocumented, and we understand the need for comprehensive immigration reform. we live it. we know what it would mean for people who we see every day in our cities. the president, in the absence of congressional action, i think has done exactly the right thing with a forceful executive action. and it's important that we support it. this is one of those moments to be -- to stand and be counted because i believe that as the
executive action moves forward it will not only serve so many people in need in our cities, it will continue to make the obvious case why we need a bigger comprehensive action by the congress. now, we gathered a number of mayors in new york city in december to start consistent organizing work among cities to support the executive action. we came up with a war room concept. we're going to work with mayors all over the country to help each other implement the executive action on the ground and to press members of the house and senate in our areas to support comprehensive reform. we have the power to do that and we have the power, also, to support our president who, as we all know is under attack on this issue. just after this session right outside the door i'd like to welcome all may colleague mayors to join, if you can. we're going to have a press conference announcing that over 30 of us have joined together in defense of the president put
together a joint amicus brief which we'll file shortly to answer a court challenge that has been put forward to the executive action. we think it is crucial that when the administration is trying to help us address these core issues, and they come under attack, that mayors stand up and say no. in fact the executive action will help our people and we think it's crucial to move forward. if you're able join news a few minutes right after this session for that press conference, and we intend to help organize together a series of actions around the country to support the president on this. one more point and it's something so near and dear to all of us, what director abramson referenced before transportation bill. in may a crucial moment for all of us when the previous transportation authorization ends. and the fate of so much of what
matters to our people hangs in the balance. one of the things we talk about as mayor johnson mentioned, that our cities of opportunities task force is how to band together to press the congress for fairness in transportation and funding for our cities. fairness for focus on mass transit that we all know is crucial for our economies. for any possibility of an inclusive economy, and for the future of our environment and our earth. we have a chance in these next few months to turn the tide, and create the kind of momentum that will get us a transportation bill that is more fair to all of us. we're going to be working to the on this when the conference of mayors meets in new york city next month. in march. we'll be in boston for the next meeting of the city of opportunities task force. we need together to create a momentum around this issue. and i think as this crucial point that jerry abramson made it's not just our ability to turn to the congress members who
represent our cities, per se. it is our ability to turn to the congress members who represent our entire metropolitan area, who represent our states as a whole, the senators from our states, and say with one voice, that things like the transportation bill should transcend politics. they're about our economic stability and our economic future. i believe working to the with our business communities, working to the with our labor communities, with civic organizations, we can create a critical mass. and again i think at this moment, the people are more receptive than ever to the kind of investments that will move the country forward. we, as mayors, have the ability, i think, to spark a different discussion locally, and that we all know there will be some members of the house and senate who may be a bit hesitant or may have ideological reasons for standing apart. i think when they feel the full weight of our ability to crystallize support in our metropolitan areas and point out that our metropolitan areas
can't possibly thrive and compete going forward without proper transportation funding i think we can make a world of difference. and i'll conclude by saying this you know, we all over our cities in the last week or two celebrated the birthday of dr. martin luther king jr. we celebrated what he meant to this nation, we thought obviously about his achievements and the movements he helped to build in terms of civil rights. but we all know that dr. king was a passionate voice for economic fairness, as well. and i often think, if dr. king were here today, he would be undoubtedly struck favorably, by some of the progress that's been made in this society in terms of inclusion, by some of the leadership that has developed around the country and at the same time, i am certain dr. king would look with some shock and some pain at how deep income inequality is in this country, and how in fact,
we have not progressed on that front. it's the issue of our times. and we as leaders, have a particular ability to break through on this issue in the here and now. we have an opportunity to take the concept of fairness and equality and freedom and turn it in to the kind of actual tools, actual policies that will uplift our people. this is the moment to break through. and i think the mayors of this country will be the leading edge in that effort toward greater fairness. i want to thank you all for what you do every day. it is an honor to be your colleague. i especially want to thank you for what you can do raising your voices to make some of these changes for a better america. thank you and god bless you. [ applause ] >> one more round of applause for mayor de blasio. [ applause ] all right. we are going to wrap up our
session here, it will literally take a couple minutes. i want to say we do our best to recognize mayors for all the great work you do. so one big thank you. keep doing the great work. i want to highlight mayor bell from birmingham for beating out russia and peru winning the 2021 world games. mayor bell, stand on up. give the mayor of birmingham a round of applause. [ applause ] as we conclude here today, the recap is, we've had an action-packed agenda engaging in meeting and record breaking attendance. we heard from david plouffe and dr. barber what we think is important for cities 3.0. we've had our administration here in terms of our cabinet secretaries, vice president biden, talked about really critical issues. we get a chance to go to the white house in a bit. that schedule will be action packed. at 12:45 breakout session for an hour. then we'll have a couple plenary sessions, we'll hear from the president at 4:30 and then a
reception right afterward. so i want to remind you the buses are leaving at 11:45. please remember to bring your i.d. you have to bring your i.d. if you don't bring your i.d. it will not be good because you will not be able to get in. and that won't be good. we have one video here that we're going to show. and then we will let you get on with your day. the conference is partnering on hungers and homelessness. we have a survey. we have a great organization that we partner with called no kid hungry and it's spearheaded by oscar winning actor jeff bridges. so let's roll the video. >> hello mayors of america. i wish i could be there with you today. you know the work that you do in your communities is really crucial to the work that i do as national -- >> president obama is scheduled to speak to the mayors this afternoon. we'll have that live for you on our companion network c-span at 4:45 eastern. we've been covering the u.s. conference of mayors winter meeting all week.
more from that meeting in just a few moments. and tomorrow our 2016 road to the white house coverage continues in des moines iowa, with a number of possible republican presidential candidates who've been invited to speak including governors rick perry, scott walker, and chris christie. you can see the iowa freedom summit live tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. eastern on c-span. >> here are a few of the commences we've recently received on the state of the union dress. >> i am very excited by the president's state of the union address. and i would have liked to hear him talk a bit more about job security. now that unemployment has gone down, i would like to hear, you know, what policies are going to be in place to help people to hold onto the jobs that they have, and people who are having a difficult time finding work.
>> well, i was actually unimpressed. maybe i'm a little old-school. but, to me a universally paid even community college really takes away the initiative out of the student. and i don't know, maybe again back in my era we had to work our way through college if our parents didn't provide, and we found a way to get through college. you know, for those that have nothing, that are flat broke potentially there should be some help. but i think it's got to be cautious and judicious on how we're throwing that money out. not just from a budgetary standpoint but what it does or doesn't do for the recipient. >> the republican from iowa senator joanie ernest she made a comment that you don't need to come from wealth and privilege
to understand what is right for this country. i just wanted to let everyone know that i am a first generation american so i do understand what it means to build from nothing to come to something that you can be proud of. >> we need to let go of old ways of thinking and embrace where we are as a country today and where we're going. we need to continue to salute our troops and their sacrifices and embrace where our future is headed. but i also wanted to say that we still have so much ahead of us. history has proven that we can be judgmental of our leaders, and history proves that differently. i just hope that in the next two years we can keep focus and hold tight to our values, despite party lines to continue to grow our country and our future generations. >> and continue to let us know what you think about the programs you're watching. call us at 202-626-3400.
e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org. or send us a tweet at @c-span #comments. join the c-span conversation. like us on facebook, follow us on twitter. our coverage of the u.s. conference of mayors continues. city managers from more than 300 cities are in washington, d.c. to meet with congressional, business, and administration officials on the economic health of america's cities. sacramento, california, mayor kevin johnson, who is the president of the conference, gives the state of the cities address. >> hello there. hello there. good afternoon. i'm hoping that you're enjoying your meal. i want to say how excited that we are to be here today for our 38 83rd meeting for the u.s. conference of mayors.
i'm kevin johnson, mayor of sacramento and president of this fine organization, and it is so awesome that so many of you have flown from so many places to be here for our 83rd meeting. it's an honor to introduce the conference leadership at the dais. i will start on my left which he's usually on my right politically and otherwise, the second vice president mick cornett. oklahoma city. [ applause ] our vice president stephanie rawlings-lake will be joining us a little later. she's attending a swearing-in. and i want to acknowledge all of our past presidents. we have mayor nutter mayor pascual and mayor reilly. please give them all a round of applause. [ applause ] and tom cochran, i know he's out there handling business. we cannot thank tom for his
leadership, and the whole entire staff of the u.s. conference of mayors, let's give them a round of applause. [ applause ] as a reminder, all of the plenary sessions are livestreamed and available on demand at usmayors.org. for those of you on facebook, twitter or instagram use our #uscmwinter15. when sharing about this particular conference. i also have two housekeeping items that are really important. the first one, while you know that the president will be visiting him on friday we have the vice president who will be joining us tomorrow at 1:00. so you have to make sure that you go through the security. so downstairs tomorrow early, you go through security and once you get on the second floor you'll be able to move around freely. and then secondly, please take a look at your name badges.
if you have a star and you're a mayor and you have a star, you have the clearance that you need to get to the white house. if you do not have a star, you need to see the u.s. conference of mayors staff today to make staff to make sure you are not left out of our white house visit. [ laughter ] yes, you need a gold star to get in. let me thank the sponsors for this year's winter meeting. i'd like to thank -- let me get through all of our sponsors, then we'll give them all one round of applause at the end. wells fargo our 2015 winter meeting title sponsor. american beverage association. americans for the arts. black and beech corporation. engine research foundation. google. hdr. j.p. morgan chase and company. lynn barger, sam son.
motorola solution. target corporations. uber technologies. the walton family foundation. let's give all of our sponsors a round of applause. [ applause ] i'm also pleased that we have over a new mayors registered for this winter meeting. let's give our rookie mayors a round of applause. [ applause ] to help introduce and welcome them to the organization we're going to show all of their names behind me. and if we've missed or lift out a mayor i want to apologize in advance.
instrumental in defining our priorities and helping this organization go forward. i am now very pleased to bring to the podium one of those rookie mayors. she comes from the great city, the district of columbia. mayor bowser served as a city council member for eight years prior to being elected for nearly 35 years the conference has been fully supportive of full voting rights for district of columbia. [ applause ] mayors, let's give a round of applause applause. >> well, good afternoon, mayor, and welcome to your nation's capital, my hometown our capital city, washington, d.c. and thank you mayor johnson for
your kind introduction but most importantly your leadership of this conference in your great city. i'm honored to stand before you as mayor of the district of columbia and bring you greetings on behalf of all 660,000 of us. as a new mayor, this is my first time at the u.s. conference of mayors but it won't be my last i look forward to welcoming you every january to our city. here in washington, as you know, we are a little bit different. we're a city, a county and a state all rolled into one. we are a city that is growing and certainly on the move. you probably heard that we're adding about a thousand people every month to d.c. that we're attracting businesses at almost an equal pace. we're focused on technology and innovation in our city and becoming a healthier, greener
and safer washington, d.c. we're investing in our future every step of the way by building highways, sewer systems, schools to ensure that our children are inheriting an even better city. and we are most importantly investing in our people. i just left one of our schools. over $100 million investment where the chancellor and i announced a focus on young men and boys of color and i want to acknowledge another great mayor in addition to you kj. our friend and former mayor of the district of columbia, adrian fenty. give him a round of applause. [ applause ] and i do that because as a new mayor i know that i'm building on quite a lot of the progress that we've been able to make in our city from leaders like adrian and many others who've worked to build our city to where we are today. we know as mayors we don't have
the luxury of kind of wringing our hands. but we are charged by our residents to get things done. and we need to get big things and small things done each and everyday. we set aside partisanship to deliver for our residents and we have to lead by example. and just like kevin did in sacramento when he secured $34 million in state and federal funding to strengthen police fire, and emergency preparedness in sacramento, we do what we need to do to protect our communities. just like mayor nutter was able to do when he increased high school graduation rates and enhanced college readiness in philadelphia. we do what we need to do to ensure our children's success. like my sister mayor to the north of us stephanie rollins blake who closed baltimore's largest deficit in modern
history. we do what's needed to be done to balance our budgets and govern in a fiscally responsible way. as demonstrate bid so many mayors in this audience, we set aside politics and focus on the future of our city. the gridlock in congress does not reflect how we operate in our cities. across this nation under the leadership of mayors in this room we get things done. and we understand that while our city are on the rise we still have major challenges to overcome. while we have growth and wealth, we also see staggering inequality. affordable housing is out of reach for too many and too many lack the skills necessary to get good paying jobs. my goal our goal, so to take those challenges head on. like many of, you i believe in making bold and pragmatic plans and executing on them every
single day. during this conference i look forward to exchanging best practices, sharing ideas and leveraging our resourcefulness as an organization. we will continue to get things done for our city and i pledge the support of the district of columbia to this organization to get things done for all of us. so i want to thank you again for being in washington. i hope while you're here that you will enjoy the restaurants, the night life, the museums arts and culture available to you in your capitol city. welcome, everybody. [ applause ] all right, thanks mayor. appreciate those comments and we will certainly enjoy the capital while we are here. i want to thank wells fargo for being our title sponsor for this particular winter meeting. this is a major commitment to our organization so, again, please join me in giving wells
fargo a round of applause. [ applause ] the executive vice president of as well aswells fargo is with us today. mary 1 head of customer excellence. she collaborates with leaders across the entire wells fargo enterprise to deliver differentiated customer service to every wells fargo customer everyday. mayry mary will be sharing an important announcement. mary welcome to this meeting. we thank you for your commitment. come on up mary. [ applause ] >> thank you, mayor johnson for that warm welcome to your luncheon, your conference, and to washington, d.c. before i get started i want to personally ask you to -- i did travel here and i have three children back home and one of them is a 6'3"15-year-old aspiring basketball player who
has no clue what his mother does but i think if i took a picture of you he might think whatever it is i do i'm pretty cool. [ applause ] thank you. it truly is my honor and privilege to be here with all of you today and to be provided the opportunity to share just briefedly comments about the exciting and energizing work happening across our country and in your cities. for strategies that revitalize local neighborhoods to those that create and support jobs and especially those that help support our veterans may i commend you all for your efforts and the leadership that you are in this room. it's just incredible what you have been doing as we have worked to turn around our country, our communities, and our cities. wells fargo is appreciative of the opportunity we've had to partner with you in our alliance and stands ready to continue to support you with the efforts needed to